IDS accused over poor families jibe
Charities have lambasted Iain Duncan Smith for his suggestion that some poor parents will buy alcohol and drugs rather than spending on their children.
The Work and Pensions Secretary argued that giving poor families money could feed parents' addictions in a keynote speech at the Kids Company charity in London today.
"For a poor family where the parents are suffering from addiction, giving them an extra pound in benefits might officially move them over the poverty line. But increased income from welfare transfers will not address the reason they find themselves in difficulty in the first place," he said.
"Worse still, if it does little more than feed the parents' addiction, it may leave the family more dependent not less, resulting in poor social outcomes and still deeper entrenchment. What such a family needs is that we treat the cause of their hardship - the drug addiction itself."
Mr Duncan Smith was accised of peddling "fiction", by Matthew Reed, chief executive of the Children’s Society.
He told the Huffington Post: "Millions of children up and down this country are living in poverty because their families do not have enough money to live on, access to decent housing or affordable childcare."
Rhian Beynon, from Family Action, said: "Iain Duncan Smith must not sideline income poverty. Money matters desperately to the families we support. Having enough income means food on the table and money in the meter.
"We already have a child poverty measure - changing the goal posts will not benefit those families in and out of work struggling to keep their heads above water."